Would you like to know how to start a blog? Maybe you've thought about it but you're afraid it will be too difficult to execute. I know how you feel. I, too, was once where you are, wondering if it would be worth it to create my own blog. Would anybody read it? Would I really achieve my blogging goals? Was I kidding myself?
Guess what? I have had my own blog for about a year and a half now. As a result, I'm here to explain exactly how you can create your own blog too. In fact, I genuinely recommend starting a blog if it's something you've been thinking about. Whether you want to make extra money or simply express yourself through writing, you will be ready to begin striving toward your goals by the end of this article.
How to Create a Blog
There are seven general steps you'll need to take on the journey to starting a blog.
- Decide on your purpose.
- Decide on a niche.
- Choose a web host.
- Install CMS Program.
- Pick a domain name.
- Design your blog and starting putting out quality content!
Sound difficult? Don't worry! I'm going to go through and describe each of these steps in detail (with pictures) to make sure you understand. If there is anything you don't understand, I encourage you to leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer your questions.
Step 1 - Decide On Your Purpose
First things first, what is a blog? You can create a blog for various different reasons so you'll need to determine your individual purpose. You can:
- make money blogging to save money and lighten your debts using affiliate links, ads, and promotions
- make money blogging by selling/marketing your own product or service
- blog to express your opinions and thoughts
- blog to promote a good cause
- blog to create a portfolio of your work
No matter what you're into, it is possible. Keep in mind, however, that it will not be a quick process. A blog contains seemingly endless puzzle pieces you'll need to put together before you can achieve your goals. The key is to have faith in the process and to stick with it!
Step 2 - Decide on a Niche
Then, you're going to need to decide on your niche. A niche is just a fancy word for what you want to write about or what you're site will be centered around. When you're considering this, think about which audiences you'll be targeting, what types of writing you plan to do, and whether or not your niche will help you reach your purpose.
For example, if your purpose is to sell your freelance writing services, you can create a site in which you write about freelance writing tips to promote your skills. Here are some more examples of popular blog niches out there.
Types of Blogs:
- Travel blogs
- Poetry blogs
- Photography blogs
- Exercise blogs
- Nutrition blogs
- Beauty and Fashion blogs
- News blogs
- Political blogs
- Food blogs
- Lifestyle blogs
- Music blogs
The list really could go on and on. Just determine what you're passionate about and get to work! If you want to make money, determine the best niche in which you can do so.
Step 3 - Choose a Web Host
First, there are a couple of different types of web hosting services out there. Some web hosting companies only offer one type of hosting while others offer an array of them. Here are the four main types of web hosting:
- Shared: Shared hosting is when your website is on the same server as many other websites. This could affect how the site loads when there is a lot of traffic happening at once. If you want a cheap web hosting plan to get started, a shared plan may be your best bet.
- VPS: If you want your load times to be affected a little less than with a shared network, you may want a VPS web hosting plan. It is better than shared because it is more private; you'll only share a server with several different websites instead of much more. As a result, VPS plans are more expensive than a shared plan.
- Cloud: With a cloud web hosting plan, various different servers come together to host a group of websites. This way, there is more than one server helping to keep the sites moving fast; so, there aren't as many issues with load times. Cloud options may be more expensive than shared and VPS options.
- Dedicated: If you purchase a dedicated server, you are renting your own server more maximum control. You won't have to worry about load speeds because your site is the only one on the server. This is perfect for websites that plan to post a lot of quality content of mixed medias and attract huge amounts of traffic. It is also perfect for people who have money because it's a lot more expensive than any over server plan.
Look for the most affordable, quality web-hosting service out there that is suitable for your blog's purpose. When I say quality, I mean you should check for reviews on companies and make sure their websites are online more often than not (uptime). Also, make sure users don't have constant issues with their loading times during high traffic. Here are some examples of reliable web hosts that integrate well with WordPress, which is the CMS program I'll be explaining later.
The Best Blog Hosting Sites
- BlueHost - BlueHost is one of the most reliable and credible hosting networks. It's also one of the most popular and least expensive. It offers various hosting options including shared, cloud, VPS, and dedicated. If you plan to integrate with WordPress, setup will only take 1-click; that's pretty impressive in my book.
- DreamHost - DreamHost is more expensive than BlueHost, but their services are seemingly flawless. Their uptime is extremely reliable and their load times are faster than average. Additionally, they have created their own control panel to make installation easy for beginners (awesome!). They offer shared, VPS, cloud and dedicated plans.
- HostGator - HostGator is even cheaper than Blue Host but their uptime and load time is not as reliable and fast as BlueHost or DreamHost. This is just their shared service, though. They also offer VPS, dedicated, and cloud plans for all blog types. You may want to spring for the cloud plan.
- GoDaddy - GoDaddy.com is another great web hosting site. It is super cheap with server options including shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated options. The only downside is that its WordPress setup can be somewhat difficult. Make sure your plan gives explicit instructions or find a tutorial if you have any issues.
- 1&1 - 1&1 is one of the oldest web hub hosts on the market. It offers bundle packages with apps and domains as well as shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated server plans. It's extremely affordable like GoDaddy and HostGator with a ton of options. Just make sure you know what you're paying for.
Pro Tip: Look into the best internet providers to make sure your Wifi network is reliable if you're going to be running a business from home. Your web host will make sure your site runs fast, but it's up to you to make sure your Internet works well enough to support the work you're doing.
Step 4 - Install CMS Program
CMS stands for Content Management System. You'll need a CMS program to easily control your blog's design and content once you have a home for it (or a web host).
If you're not looking to make money with your blog and don't mind some advertisements, you may want to skip the web hosting and go with a free, pre-hosted CMS program. Here are some examples of hosted blogging platforms:
Depending on what type of content you plan on posting, one of these free blogging platforms might be perfect for you. Do some research on each to determine which suits your content best. I stand by Wordpress.com!
WordPress is one of the most well-known CMS programs for blogging. Similarly, most web hosting services easily integrate with WordPress because it's so well-known and easy to use. WordPress analytics show that over 409 million WordPress users view over 24.2 billion blog pages each month. As a result, I believe WordPress is the best platform for bloggers to gain exposure.
I use Wordpress for my blog and have loved it from the beginning. It's super simple to navigate and you can download simple plugins for all of your complex website design needs, even if you know nothing (like I did).
WordPress has a free hosted Wordpress.com option and a free self-hosted Wordpress.org option. The .com option is more for beginners and doesn't offer much customization. It is hosted by Wordpress, therefore WordPress can advertise whatever they want on your blog. If you're just looking for a way to express yourself and be social, the .com version may be perfect.
If you want to be able to customize your blog, avoid spammy advertisements, and make money from it, however, you'll want to go with a Wordpress.org account. This .org account is self-hosted, which is why you've already found the perfect host for your purpose, right?
Installing WordPress CMS
First, go to your web host account and sign in. You should have made a username and password to access your account and control panel when you signed up for your plan. There may be a separate login for your account and your control panel, which contains your web files.
Once you're logged into your hosting account, you should see an icon for your control panel or cPanel. Click on it. Here is a picture of what my cPanel looks like in Web Hub:
Once you're there, look for a "1-click installation" button, an applications section, or a WordPress installation button. If you aren't sure, do a quick Google search for WordPress integration instructions for your web host of choice. You can see my WordPress applications section is all the way at the bottom of the page on Web Host.
Most web hosting sites have made installing WordPress extremely easy. Just click the download button to integrate WordPress with your server. If you already have a blog on WordPress that you want to transfer, however, things could get tricky. Check out this tutorial from WordPress if you need help with that.
Once you click install, you'll have to enter your blog's information. It'll ask for you protocol, which should be http://. Then type in your domain in the format shown. Don't worry about messing with the database name or the table prefix; you can leave them how they are. If there is an IN Directory section, you can leave it blank.
Next, give your blog a name and description if it asks. You'll then have to create your administrator password and email to log into your WordPress administrator account. This is where you'll be able to customize your blog. If these instructions don't seem to work for your web host, do a Google search for specific instructions to install WordPress on your hosting server.
Step 5 - Pick a Domain Name
Next, you have to create a domain name, which is another name for your website's URL. This is an important step! Your domain name should reflect your website's niche and purpose and make it easy for people to find you. This means you're going to have to do some research. First things first, you should try to get a .com domain. It's more well-known than .org or .net, so it'll be easier for people to find you right off the bat.
Then, you can check sites like Google Adwords Keyword Planner or Buzzsumo to figure out the best domain name for SEO and your purpose. With these sites, you can type in keywords you're thinking of using to see how popular they are. Here is a picture of how Google Adwords works.
Type in specific words or phrases to get an idea of how many people are searching those words and phrases. If you can then incorporate some popular words into your domain name, you're moving in the right direction.
Step 6 - Design Your Blog & Start Writing Quality Content
Ta-dah! You are now ready to start designing your blog. Log into the WordPress administrator account you created when you installed WordPress. You should be able to access it by typing "/admin" at the end of your site's domain name. For example, http://cooldude.com/admin.
Once you log in, click on appearance and themes on the left side of your Wordpress Dashboard to pick a theme. This may take a while. There are seemingly infinite free and paid WordPress themes out there. You should be able to sample each theme either in your WordPress customizer or on the theme's website. Here is a picture of what the WordPress free themes selection looks like:
Do some research on the best themes for your purpose and pick your poison. Once you've chosen a theme, you can start designing your site based on your theme's restrictions. Use your customizer to change colors, format, widget placement etc. Your customizer will look something like this:
Once you have a general design and color scheme, you can start creating pages and categories for your future posts. Pages and categories are different, which you will see in this WordPress support forum. They are similar, however, because you can make them both visible on the primary navigation menu for your website.
You can also adjust your site with plugins on WordPress. It offers thousands of plugins for its users. Plugins are basically simple solutions to any features you may want and solutions to any issues you may come across. They allow people who are not so savvy with HTML and CSS to edit their site without coding.
For example, if you're interested in ranking well in search engines like Google and Bing, you should install the free or paid version of Yoast SEO Plugin. It will guide you through your posts, showing you how to optimize each one for SEO. The possibilities are endless with WordPress plugins at your fingertips. Check out an email marketing software to create your own email newsletters for your subscribers. Mailchimp is my favorite!
Now that you know how to make a blog, start creating quality content. You can market your content via social media to increase your traffic and reach more readers or customers once you have content to promote. Focus on creative posts and engaging your readers to keep them coming back for more!
If you learned something from this article, don't be afraid to share it with your friends and family. You never know who's out there wondering whether or not blogging is right for them. Also, check out the MoneySavingPro Blog and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to make extra money and get your finances in order.